Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance
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Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance

Edited by Stephen Elstub and Oliver Escobar

Democratic innovations are proliferating in politics, governance, policy, and public administration. These new processes of public participation are reimagining the relationship between citizens and institutions. This Handbook advances understanding of democratic innovations, in theory and practice, by critically reviewing their importance throughout the world. The overarching themes are a focus on citizens and their relationship to these innovations, and the resulting effects on political equality. The Handbook therefore offers a definitive overview of existing research on democratic innovations, while also setting the agenda for future research and practice.
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Chapter 12: Facilitators: the micropolitics of public participation and deliberation

Oliver Escobar


Most of the forms of public participation explored throughout this Handbook are supported by a range of practitioners whose work is often rendered invisible in the study of democratic innovations. Facilitators are key agents at the frontline of current democratic practices. This chapter is about agency and the micropolitics of participatory processes, particularly of the deliberative kind. The chapter analyses the role of facilitation practitioners, their different types, their defining practices, as well as their influence on participatory processes. Drawing on a review of interdisciplinary literature, as well as on original empirical work, this chapter offers conceptual and analytical foundations for the study of facilitation practice.

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